Friday, March 16, 2018

Midwinter Blues

Hello friends! I’m just waking up from a “long winter’s nap.” It’s an MS thing - a sort of self imposed hibernation I use to cope with fatigue and the midwinter blues; I simply sleep right through them!

The sun has started showing its face again and even though it hasn’t warmed things up outdoors, it certainly has elevated my spirits. So has a special little quilt Barb sent me for my birthday. How could I feel glum with this to cheer me?

The pattern is “Midwinter Blues” from the 2014 Humble Quilts sew-along. Designer Lori DeJarnatt explains that the quilt isn't called that because there’s anything depressing about it but because the color blue tends to have a calming effect. Make your own quilt by following Lori's directions here:
Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Finale

Barb chose to work with exquisite fabrics. I've never seen such deeply saturated blues before. I also seem to have missed out on the cheddar color trend in my own fabric collecting.

As for quilting, Barb used one of her favorite designs - a lovely overall teacup pattern, stitched with silk thread. Click here for more detail on how she did it.

Want to guess what's on the back? It’s always a surprise.

If you look closely at the label, you'll see this quilt holds a very special secret. Barb originally made it for our dear friend, Mary. I am honored that it's been entrusted to me. Thank you Barb!

Must stop now... I need another nap.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

“Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful!”

Happy holidays everyone! I hope this finds you well and looking forward to a brand new year.

For those of you living outside the purple zone on the weather map, it’s bitterly cold here, with single digit temperatures and double digit below zero wind chills. That’s bone chilling cold. Breath-taking cold. Frostbite cold! Jim has kept his "arctic" expeditions to a minimum, braving the elements only to trek down the driveway for mail or to shovel snow. Each time he opens the storm door, it whines in protest with an icy screech of metal on metal, as if to ask, “Are you sure you want to venture out today?” 

I'm keeping warm under a cozy new quilt that my friend, Mary Conley, gave me for Christmas. "The blocks might look familiar," she whispered, as she placed it in my lap to open. Indeed they did! They were red and green nine patches I'd abandoned years ago when I first started sorting my life into projects worth my energy to complete and those that were not. 

Apparently, Mary saw more potential in my castoffs than I did. Imagine her stitching them together almost 20 years later, and returning them to me as a finished quilt! 

I love the homespun plaid she used as an alternate fabric. It really accentuates the “on point” blocks, especially when contrasted with a “straight set” border. The quilting is a swirling, blustery, wind-like design. How appropriate!

Mary, Thank you for your kindness. I'll cherish this quilt and think of our friendship whenever I sleep under it, which in this weather will be just about every night

Friday, July 21, 2017

Will Strip for Fabric!

Hi everyone. Hope you're keeping cool this summer. I get so lethargic and irksome in this heat. Most days, it’s hard for me to do much more than nap! 

My Piecemaker friends, Sheila and Kathy, found photos of quilts made from the Kaleidoscope fabric exchange I described in my previous post. It’s fun to see how different they all turned out. Enjoy! 

Oh, and here’s our friend, Patt, dressed as a stripper, because... well... how else would you dress for a "strip" swap?

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Hey, Macarena!

It’s been a while since I posted a bona fide, start to finish, sewn with my own two hands kind of quilt. I had to go back 20 years to find one, but this Kaleidoscope pretty much fits the bill.

Are you surprised to see a pastel color scheme from me? Generally, I don’t use soft colors. Here’s how I managed to collect such a wide variety. My Piecemaker friends swapped fabrics to make these Kaleidoscope quilts. Each participant took six yards of pastels from her own collection and cut them into 120 strips to share with the group.

On the day of the swap, the tables were piled high with pastel fabrics of all sorts. We paraded around the room to the festive rhythm of “Macarena,” eagerly snatching a strip from each table we passed. With all the laughter and fabric flying, we probably looked like a crazy Conga line or grown-up game of Musical Chairs. Nah, just quilters having fun. "Hey, Macarena!”

For my quilt, I chose colors and prints reminiscent of the 1930s. After sorting and sewing strips together, I cut the eight segments required for each block using this 45 Degree Kaleidoscope Wedge Ruler.  (It includes directions for block and quilt construction.)

I had fun coordinating the colors within blocks... 

but, I like the scrappiness of random fabrics just as much.

Nothing went to waste; leftover strips found their way into the scrappy border.

84" x 100"
Machine quilting by Stover Quality Quilting.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Another Year Older

23 February 2017

Dear Barb,

My birthday quilt arrived and I wish you could see the ear to ear grin on my face after tearing through the wrappings. What a happy piece of patchwork to open on a gray February day!

Your little Log Cabin quilt is charming. Is there anything sweeter than a pink and blue color scheme? 

As for sharing your last bit of bird toile for the quilt back, it makes an elegant foil to those quirky conversation prints on the front. Baseball players and baby faces ~ Such fun!


Your birthday quilts always take the edge off turning another year older. Thank you for this cherished reminder of our friendship, Barb. I love it, and you too!

CLICK HERE to read about previous birthday quilts.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Humble Orphans

I have a memory from my early friendship with Barb, of visiting her sewing room and exploring a drawer full of “orphan” quilt blocks. You know the type of thing: abandoned blocks, leftover blocks, vintage blocks, assorted oddments that otherwise have no home. What fun it would be, I thought, to arrange them, like puzzle pieces, into different quilt layouts.

That’s exactly what Barb did when she made this birthday quilt for me last year. It’s all “orphan blocks” from her stash. The quilt measures 10” x 12” and is “randomly set with blocks of different sizes, made to fit by adding on or trimming back, as need be.

I’m guessing Barb started her layout with the vintage Shoo Fly block, then added Broken Dishes to continue the classic blue and brown color scheme. When the strip of Flying Geese blocks was too long to fit, Barb simply cut it off, leaving a partial block which only adds to the quilt's charm.

On the back is a beautiful botanical/bird chinz in rich colors, made richer by a gentle tea bath when all was finished. 

Before my birthday, I had my eye on this vintage bowl from Etsy. It’s the sweetest thing, just 3” tall and 5” across, with a hefty round base and the loveliest shade of blue. "Just what I need," I told myself, picturing it filled with old buttons, sitting atop a scrappy quilt. 

When Barb sent me this quilt… I went back and bought the bowl. Happy birthday to me!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sweet Hearts

Happy Valentines Day!